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Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts
02/11/2018
Australian music industry

DICKIE, Mr Glenn, Export Music Producer, Sounds Australia

MILLGATE, Ms Peta Jane (Millie), Executive Producer, Sounds Australia

Committee met at 09:06

CHAIR ( Mr Howarth ): Good morning everyone. I declare open this hearing of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts. This is the committee's first public hearing for its inquiry into the Australian music industry. Australian music is loved at home and around the world for its creative talent and innovation. The music industry makes a significant contribution not only to Australia's economy but also its cultural identity.

In April, the Australian Recording Industry Association, who we'll be hearing from later this morning, reported a 10½ per cent increase in the Australian recorded music industry for 2017. This has been the highest annual growth since 1996. While this growth is encouraging, it remains vital to examine what government could be doing better to support this continued growth and to consider the factors affecting the success of the Australian music industry both domestically and internationally.

The inquiry will provide the committee with the valuable opportunity to hear how Australian composers, songwriters, performers and producers can expand their reach and better compete with overseas artists. We will also hear from investors, music companies, record labels, cultural organisations, festivals and other businesses that connect Australian music with audiences and markets. The committee will conduct additional hearings over the next several weeks as well.

I now welcome representatives from Sounds Australia. Although the committee does not require you to give evidence on oath, I should advise you that these hearings are legal proceedings of the parliament and therefore have the same standing as proceedings of the respective houses. The giving of false or misleading evidence is a serious matter and may be regarded as contempt of parliament. I now invite you to make an opening statement before we go to discussions.

Ms Millgate : Firstly, thank you so much for the opportunity to speak today and for including Sounds Australia. It's an extraordinary opportunity, and we're appreciative to no end.

Australia is an industry that's united by export. Australia is a significant world producer of contemporary music, reflecting an industry that is dynamic, global and innovative. The industry includes live performance, recording, publishing, sync placement, radio airplay, digital services, and marketing and promotion. The key priority, and where all of these areas intersect, is through the Global Pathways access and opportunities of exporting Australian contemporary music.

The significance of Australian music exports was recognised by the 14 industry partners that contributed to the 2016 release of Music Australia's National Contemporary Music Plan. I believe Music Australia made a submission and included that plan. The first of the plan's six key strategies was to increase Australia's music exports and international market share of music, and the first initiative that was recommended in order to realise this strategy was the continued investment in Sounds Australia and the expansion of the export program. Ten years of development, cumulative music industry networks and constant evaluation has resulted in the delivery of a robust, premier export program that sees Sounds Australia providing invaluable expert advice and specialised services to artists and music businesses critical to effectively navigating and penetrating international markets. The depth of the export service that's been offered by Sounds Australia is broad, with activity to date having taken place at 73 different international events in 66 different cities across 23 different countries; 1,560 Australian groups have showcased internationally under the Sounds Australia banner.

Sounds Australia has expedited the artist discovery process and catapulted multiple acts into the consciousness of the world's most influential industry across the USA, the UK and Europe, ensuring that from their very first export outing Australian artists are now showcasing to key industry leaders and decision-makers, resulting in increased professional and commercial outcomes. There was an article in the Australian Financial Review that held songwriting as one of Australia's fastest growing export industries, citing the $43.5 million in royalties earned overseas by APRA AMCOS members in 2016-17. This was a 13.6 per cent year-on-year growth, and more than double the $21.8 million collected only four years earlier.

Year upon year, Australian acts are being booked on iconic and defining festival stages: Coachella, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and Governors Ball. They are also being featured in NPR, NME, Pitchfork and Hype Machine end-of-year 'best of' and 'ones to watch' lists. They're making show-stopping appearances on US television—Ellen, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan—and they're receiving Grammy and BRIT Awards nominations.

All of these feats in isolation are significant; combined they are beyond impressive. The results and achievements are considerable, and are a testament to the talents of each and every one of these artists. These talented artists and their teams of representatives are just like our Olympians: they are the best of the best, our cultural ambassadors, and now is the time for the Australian government to double-down and capitalise even further on these incredible advances with genuine and significant investment.

With physical record sales almost entirely removed from the mix, a domestic market the size of Australia is no longer able to make, break or sustain careers. Contemporary music needs strategic and committed investment at all phases of an artist's life cycle to compete on the world stage. International success for our artists leads to an increased profile in the domestic market, which significantly increases the earning potential and ability for musicians and songwriters to derive a viable living from their work.

Prioritising a partnership between industry and government to further drive the music export success story would provide a triple lock guarantee for the future of the Australian music industry and the nation's image abroad: sustainability of the industry to generate substantial international revenue; a diverse and mobile cultural product to underpin Australian government cultural diplomacy priorities; and a key partner to support other export powerhouses of education, agriculture and services. Sounds Australia has played a considerable role in fast-tracking Australian music success globally, and if it resorts to the same capacity, or even half the capacity, of our competitors overseas, this growth would be exponential.

In our submission, we did focus on 10 key areas that we consider are the recommendations that would contribute to the growth and sustainability of the Australian music industry. They are in the submission, but I will just highlight some of those points. There is the bolstering of global streaming platform, and also developing an emerging market strategy specifically for South America and Asia. We want a First Nations first policy; we want to have Australian Indigenous artists at every international showcase. We want to focus on specific investment for artist managers. We want to create inbound opportunities for genres of folk, jazz, contemporary, classical, blues and roots, partnering with regional and local tourism and state governments. It's essential that the foundations of export are strengthened and there's support for domestic programs, both those that already exist and others that could be instigated. We really want to look at the integration of music to policy across all platforms of government: the idea of Australian first for government events, in the same way that food and beverage is always put forward. We want to look at the idea of negotiating a first exporters visa with the US, and certainly the idea of additional and increased funding specifically for our artists to get overseas. We also have the recommendation of an export music council, made up of policy leaders, academia and the music industry. It really is about determining the value, respecting the value and having this across all areas of government.

CHAIR: Thanks very much. That was very detailed. We appreciate that.

Ms TEMPLEMAN: I have to declare an interest in this submission, because, as I was reading the detail last night, I saw a photo of my son, who is a bass player with Julia Jacklin, who's one of the artists, and they have benefited. So there's my declaration of interest! There are so many things, but I'll just ask a couple of questions on a couple of themes. I'm sure others will have questions, and then I'll have more if there's time. In terms of the export market and your comment that the domestic market isn't able to sustain musicians in a viable way, do you have any numbers that quantify the amount of work that musicians are getting overseas compared to Australia? I've certainly seen the difference between a touring year and a non-touring year.

Ms Millgate : Yes, definitely.

Ms TEMPLEMAN: Could you paint that picture of what it's like for musicians when they get a bit of support and use that as a launching pad for export? And, Glenn, I think we're lucky to have you in the country today to be able to share your experience, because I know you're overseas a lot.

Ms Millgate : In terms of quantifying the changes, I think some of the other speakers, and the figures there, more importantly. It's been one of those things with regard to the net value of Australian music export. We have never had that figure. Fortunately, the Australia Council for the Arts and APRA AMCOS partnered with Monash and Newcastle universities, and they're coming to the tail end of a three-year ARC Linkage grant. They did send a submission, and I believe they've been contacted for further information. But the findings in that are going to be really paramount. It's something that we haven't been able to benchmark. We haven't been able to determine exactly the entire value, but we're certainly starting to see the increase. Physical sales have fallen. Artists normally would have made an income from the sale of those products. As the terrain has changed—we're now in a digital market space—the revenue is starting to catch up, but it hadn't been coming in. It meant that touring and getting out in front of audiences became really essential. And with only 24 million or 26 million people—I don't know the latest count—it's just not enough. The idea is for artists to really build those careers. From the outset, it was about looking for further markets and increased audience. Then you've got the value chain, so it's not just tickets at shows; it's the merchandising; it's all the other sales and the ability to increase their profile that leads to that income and that return.

Ms TEMPLEMAN: Can you talk about what you look for for an artist to be able to find a market that could work for them?

Mr Dickie : The artists and the managers, most of the time, are finding the markets themselves. There are a lot of analytics that you get these days through your Spotifys and the back ends of a lot of the digital services. They're identifying the markets. The US and the UK are still going to be the major markets. They're the biggest markets. Germany is now the third-biggest market in the world, so there's a lot more focus going into that market. But they're identifying the markets. They're then putting plans together to raise the capital to get over there and figuring out a plan of how to build teams so, once they're over there, they can have the success that's needed. There's a lot of strategy. But they're choosing the markets. We're just there to help at certain events and—as our catchphrase is—to fast-track their success. We'll create these events to highlight the Australian artists en masse and get all of their potential teams into one place, or a couple of places, to see them and then, hopefully, generate some business out of that.

Ms Millgate : I think, in addition to the idea of them identifying it, the market is now finding us. Certainly 10 years ago when Sounds Australia was established, there was that tyranny of distance, and the idea of a US label signing an Australian band was really risky. It was not a common thing. If they had a choice of signing a locally based artist or an Australian artist, the decision-making around that was of concern. I think what we're starting to see because of the success, because of the doors that have been opened, by artists such as Flume, Vance Joy, The Temper Trap, The Jezabels and Alison Wonderland—and the list goes on and on—is that those pathways now are becoming reality.

I think what we're starting to see in Australia is an A&R pool, and I think what we're finding is our agents are coming to our artists before they've even probably had a chance, in some instances, to think about it. I think Hatchie was an example. She put her song on Unearthed. She fell asleep. She woke up. The amount of people that had listened to that song and got in touch, including a UK booking agent who got it! She had a UK agent before the month was out almost, and then the following year she was playing on a stage in Brighton with us at The Great Escape with that agent. So people are looking. They're using portals like Unearthed. They're using all sorts of ways to now discover Australian music, and I think about the strength of events like BIGSOUND, which happens in Queensland. You've got the Electronic Music Conference. The WAMFest is happening right now over in WA. There's Indie-Con Australia for the labels. These are events that are bringing international tastemakers and media into Australia to look at our talent. It's not a surprise anymore; people are finding it. Once those doors opened, other artists here were able to see a trajectory and say, 'Look, I have a similar act in that genre. I've seen what they've done,' and, if they've used platforms like South by Southwest or they've had a play at a certain event, they become achievable, realistic goals, and we're seeing other artists follow suit as well.

Ms TEMPLEMAN: Just before I hand over to the others, can you paint a picture of what you do? I get what South by Southwest is, but I'm not sure that I even know all the details of what's involved in that event. So can you paint the picture of the support that you're providing in showcasing and creating those opportunities? That'd be great.

Ms Millgate : Let's use South by Southwest as an example. It's the biggest. There are over 2,000 artists showcasing. The acts get chosen by the market. We deliberately remain at arm's length. It's not up to a gatekeeper in Australia. Our acts need to be chosen by the programmers, so, already, someone there sees that there's a future and there's a commercial opportunity. That's first and foremost. Those artists are chosen. At South by Southwest this year there were 52 Australian artists. Now, when they get an offer, they get one official play. So, on the idea of a four-piece band going to Austin for one show, you're looking at about $15,000 to $20,000 before they are out of the gate. In addition to that one show, we recognise that they need to be seen, and, in the way that other people would go to an expo and show their wares and try to sell that way, for us that is live. A live performance in front of key partners who could potentially work with them is essential. So we look to produce events, and, in doing so, that event and the flagship for us is the Aussie BBQ showcase. We have others—Sound Gallery, Beat Pie—too for the showcase, really tailored to specific needs, but the idea is to give them that additional show. Also, through the ten years, we've built a platform where industry knows they're going to see quality and great music. So they know to mark it out in their calendar: 'We know that on Thursday the Aussie BBQ's going to happen. We'll see acts.' It's about getting as many of those in the industry in front of the acts, so it's about having that second play.

What I think we realised pretty early on in creating these platforms is that, as much as you need the support for the artists themselves, there's also the ecosystem and the infrastructure around it, and, in particular for us, that's the artists' managers. They are crucial at every stage of artists' careers, and they, in and of themselves, are small businesses. So we really recognise that, at those events, it's about cut-through. There are hundreds and thousands of people in Austin at the time, so it's about providing that really direct vehicle so that, again, they're going to get in front of the right people. So we coordinate an industry lunch—120 people sit down. It's the really key 50 US and 50 Australians, and if we know that you're looking for a promoter or you're after a particular festival or that this artist is interested in sync and they want to get into film, the chances are that they're going to get seated next to someone who's going to be able to help them, or at least start a conversation. Then there's a number of other networking and P2B initiatives that we'll put in place at that event whilst they're there to make sure that they're really making the most of their time, and that's in addition to everything else that they're already doing. The other thing is really just having Australia united under the one brand: having the promotion, letting industry know in advance who's coming, setting up playlists so they can listen to the artists—everything about 'we know that this is where we can tap into the Australians'.

Mr Dickie : And it's never easy. If it's your first trip overseas, it's a big investment, so you're scared of everything. Some of the artists have never actually been overseas before. So we try to create events that take a little bit of the stress out of it. We coordinate everything. We want the managers, the artists—everybody—to turn up to that event knowing that everything is going to be okay; they're being supported. If they need a hug at the end of it, we can do that too. Sometimes we have an actual barbecue and we can even feed them. The idea is that we take a little of that stress out so they can project their energy to the other shows that are outside that. They know there are going to be people there for this one. They know that industry is going to be there and they know it's going to be supported, so it's a less stressful kind of environment for them to be in.

CHAIR: Sounds Australia does that?

Mr Dickie : Yes.

CHAIR: And you have four staff?

Ms Millgate : Yes.

CHAIR: How often do you travel? Your main focus is international, right?

Ms Millgate : Yes. I'd be away for about 110 days a year, and Glenn is away more than I am.

Mr Dickie : I get scared of counting!

Ms Millgate : Yes.

Mr Dickie : It's six to seven months, maybe.

Ms Millgate : Certainly our international program and what we deliver there is the key, but it all comes back to what we're building here. We need a strong pyramid, and this is where you'll hear from our constituents about building that base. A component of what we do when we are in the country is about capacity building and development, so we do workshops around the country. We set up one-on-one meetings with artists and managers in the really early stages to start to talk about their export plans: 'What are you thinking? If you're going here, did you know that this was happening anyway?'

It's about anything that just gives them the sense that we can verify what they're deciding. If they're looking at going to an event and they're not ready, I think that one of the best things we can do is to tell them that. It's all very well to get to an event; often, it's like writing your first record—that's almost the easy part. You can have a weekend job, you can still invest and you can still do other things. You can get to that first market—it might be that you've secured a grant, which is great, or there is the incredible percentage of mums and dads who are very supportive, so you can get to that event. It's what happens if you're successful. That's where we see it start to fall apart.

If they get their agent of choice, if they get picked to come back into the market for a festival and if they get a key promoter then they need to be back in the US within three to six months. Six months is almost too late; they need to be able to capitalise on that momentum. So if that artist doesn't have the cash flow and the capacity to go back then they're not ready to go in the first place. They really need to time it in such a way that if they go and have success then they can then keep going and momentum can keep on being built.

Mr WATTS: How can we think about exports as part of the music industry? Is it correct to say that it's an essential component of sustaining a long-term career as a musician in Australia to have exports as a core part of your strategy?

Ms Millgate : Yes, 100 per cent. And I think it's probably going to get to the point where it's not export, because the minute that song is on Spotify you're exporting. You can't hold it back any longer. It used to be that you'd release territory by territory and you had a longer lead game. It's so quick now. For us, that export is essential.

If we refer to the AAM—the Association of Artist Managers—and if we start to look at the stats in terms of how often each of those managers look overseas, it's key. If we refer to ARIA and the numbers coming in from them—and certainly the latest APRA AMCOS figures—we see the overseas royalties that are being earned. And it's not any longer just The Seer and Gotye; this is for multiple artists.

Export unifies the industry. It's an area where there are different copyrights at play and different conversations around different areas. I think they're all incredibly important in and of themselves, but I think that export is certainly the area that is essential in 2018. On that: the support the government has given to us today—certainly through the Australia Council for the Arts and through the different federal governments that we've had—has been to focus on the UK, the US and Europe. We absolutely believe that there are opportunities, without question, in Asia and South America that we haven't even started with. We've had little tastes; we leave in about 20 days to go on our third mission into South America. That's been with the support of DFAT, and this year through COALAR. That's been fantastic, but it's all very piecemeal. It's that idea of making a decision between existing revenue that's going to come out of those key established markets versus the untapped potential and the growth that's happening in streaming—and the uptake and appetite for Australia music in those territories. We have to have it all going at once, and we're a team of four.

Mr WATTS: My colleagues will be unsurprised that I'll come back to the Asian exports issue! If you think of the traditional job of government in opening up export markets—opening up new countries for exports—traditionally, we thought about, 'Well, we need to strengthen IP protections in other countries in order to grow the potential markets for Australian musicians as live touring becomes a larger part of income streams for artists relative to IP, in the historical context.' I noted that your submission talks about the importance of a reciprocal music exporters provision visa. Is that an example of non-tariff barriers to trade that government should be focusing on bringing down to grow this export market?

Ms Millgate : Yes.

Mr WATTS: How would that work?

Ms Millgate : I know that one's a big one, but I think you get an opportunity like this. We're just seeing amazing artists being held back at that barrier, particularly with the US and the current administration. What they have to do to be able to put the 0-1 visas together is considerable. It's incredibly cost prohibitive, and you're looking at six months for the lead times. If you have these opportunities that are coming up and you need to capitalise, there's always that. Every two days, we're fielding questions on visas. We're no experts, so we hand them over to agents that are. But I think it is almost as hard to get into Australia, so we actually do have a bit of a card to play in that realm. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were an opportunity for artists to go both ways—the first three times you just get in there and give it a go, and then you start to really look at earning money. They're not earning money. What they're doing is spending money on hotels, on food, on travel. They are not taking money out of that country. And they are certainly employing local people. So there are benefits both ways. That was just an example that wasn't direct investment but was certainly about those lines of communication. I know the Canadian independent labels and groups have been lobbying in Washington considerably—but, as nice and as wonderful as the Canadians are, anyone can go into Canada to perform. It's very easy. The barriers are down. So their leverage with the US doesn't exist in the same way as it does for us, because US artists are coming here and they're having trouble. It was just something we thought would be worth looking at.

Mr WATTS: How big is that visa obstacle as a barrier? It was significant when you articulated it—you go to South by Southwest and it's 15 to 20 grand. That's a big investment. How big is the logistical and financial investment of getting a visa?

Ms Millgate : You can start to get up to about 5K down the hole each time you're applying. It's going to depend on the number of members and how they do it, but pretty much now you have to pay the expediting fee, which has gone up to around $1,500 per applicant already, and then it just depends on which one they're going for. What South by Southwest have now and what they've been advocating for, which is really good, is that artists can go in on the Visa Waiver Program or a B-2, which allows them to go in and play official South by Southwest shows, which is terrific, and a lot more artists are doing that. What they can't do is then go and do a showcase in LA and a showcase in New York. We previously used to be able to provide that opportunity and put those events together, because, if you're going to pay 15K to get into that country, what else can you do while you're there? It limits you, on the visa waiver, to just going in, just playing a showcase and just coming out. It's a good starting point, and I really am grateful that they've been advocating for that, but the idea of that being able to be spread for your first couple of years would be amazing.

CHAIR: Who else in the industry does what Sounds Australia does?

Ms Millgate : In terms of providing that support in market?

CHAIR: Yes.

Ms Millgate : No-one.

CHAIR: So you're pretty unique.

Ms Millgate : I shouldn't say 'no-one'. That's very flippant. It's not without its partners. Our absolute priority when Sounds Australia was set up was to recognise what was already existing. The independent labels are already doing things. The managers are doing things. So are the majors. Everyone is already doing things. It was: 'How are we able to bring everyone together so you have the sum of the parts?' Certainly in terms of the model and the infrastructure, it is Sounds Australia delivering that, but it's doing it in partnership. For instance, we've worked with the Folk Alliance Australia team. For Americana, we work with Americana Australia. There's an indie labels event in New York, and we work with the Australian independent labels and the PPCA. It's about seeing who is already in that particular space, who already is working on the ground with the artist and how we can team up and double the resources there.

CHAIR: You are funded mostly by the government but a little bit by the industry. Is that right? What percentage comes from the industry?

Ms Millgate : Can I take that on notice? I've done a breakdown but I just didn't think to bring it with me.

CHAIR: Yes, that'd be great. When you say 'from the industry', who in the industry?

Ms Millgate : The lead partner is APRA AMCOS. Our team is housed within their building. So there's a financial investment but there's also the in-kind. We utilise the comms team and our computers and everything to do with operating an organisation. The PPCA have financially contributed and the Australian Publishers Association have contributed. That's in terms of financial injection.

In terms of government partners, as I mentioned, the Australia Council for the Arts instigated the existence of Sounds Australia through market development, and they've continued to lead the government's investment. We've had support directly. At the moment we're on four years through the minister, and we've had DFAT for India and for South America, and the state governments of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, to varying degrees.

CHAIR: The artists that you mentioned earlier—are they all from New South Wales? What's the split across the different states?

Ms Millgate : Around 33.5 per cent is New South Wales and 33.4—New South Wales and Victoria are really close. Then you'd have Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, the NT, Tassie and the ACT. That's pretty consistent across most of the market events that we're at.

CHAIR: At what stage in their careers do artists get in contact with Sounds Australia, and how is that initiated? Does someone say, 'Oh, you need to speak to Sounds Australia,' or do they already have a successful career in Australia?

Ms Millgate : No, not anymore. I guess this is where it's changed. Early on, you really needed to build a story here. You needed to have circumnavigated the country X number of times. You needed to have sold a certain number of records so that the story became interesting for someone overseas to, potentially, sign you. It was about building this—it took years. It literally took years. Certainly, in the last five or six years, the acts that are coming overseas with us haven't released an album. I remember the Jezabels was probably 2011 or 2012; I think they'd been around the world three or four times before their first EP even came out. So it is absolutely out of the gate from the first single. But you've also got really savvy managers working across different artists, so they know—once you've done it once with one act, you start to share that.

I think we're a really unique and strangely over-sophisticated market, in terms of our intel and sharing. We get told all the time, by different counterparts in the UK and US: 'How do you get your artists to work together? How do you get them to share stages? Our acts would want all the limelight. Why are they doing that? Why are they giving it up?' I just think it's really unique to the Australian industry and our capacity as a sector to work together, and the conversations and the knowledge sharing are really amazing. In terms of knowing when to talk to Sounds Australia, other people are certainly telling them. And, after 10 years, we've really tried to get the message out that if you are looking at export, have a chat to us. There are certainly acts and genres that are doing it outside of us, and that's as valid, and the success they're having is fantastic.

CHAIR: With genres and types of music, how wide is the field? Or do you just narrowly concentrate on certain areas?

Mr Dickie : It's pretty wide, these days!

Ms Millgate : And it's getting wider.

Mr Dickie : From February we'll be at Folk Alliance International, which is a folk festival. Then we'll be at South by Southwest, which is all genres essentially. There's not as much jazz and classical but they are picking up their jazz. Then we'll go into Classical:NEXT and jazzahead!—contemporary classical and contemporary jazz. Then we'll be into events like The Great Escape, Primavera and Reeperbahn, in Germany. We're going with everything from dance music right through to classical.

Ms Millgate : When we started, the markets that had been identified were South by Southwest and The Great Escape. But, once we'd had a number of years under our belt and the model was working, it was a conversation with the Australia Council that led to, 'Couldn't this work further afield?' That's where we started to look at jazzahead! and Classical:NEXT, and really widened that breadth.

Mr Dickie : There's a lot more genre crossover across the board, anyway, so it makes a lot more sense to be across it.

Ms Millgate : Aussie hip-hop's the hardest; I'll be honest with you there.

CHAIR: And why is that?

Ms Millgate : Well, in a lot of ways the strength of the Aussie hip-hop scene's amazing, but I think sometimes the accent becomes hard. The US is the home of that genre. But going back to that emerging-markets strategy, in the non-English-speaking market, I think 100 per cent—

CHAIR: I was going to ask you about that, when you mentioned South America and Asia—

Ms Millgate : and Korea and Chile and Brazil—that's such an opportunity for our hip-hop.

CHAIR: What genres will that open up?

Ms Millgate : What do you mean?

CHAIR: Mr Watts mentioned Asia and South America. Would that be different genres?

Mr Dickie : Yes. Traditionally Asia's got a strong sound in jazz and classical, but there are probably more bands from the Australian metal scene touring through Asia than most other genres. There's a really good metal scene, and all electronic genres are doing well there. There are now Australians in some of the big Korean and Japanese K-pop bands. I don't know how that works—it's pretty crazy! But they're the genres. It'll be dance, metal—and folk, because in a lot of the Asian countries there's an extreme: they like either really hard and aggressive music or they like more folky or classical. In these countries, as I was told a couple of weeks ago: 'Everything's very noisy around us. We just like to hear nice and peaceful music.' So, they're the kinds of genres that work.

Mr ALEXANDER: Just listening, your world sounds similar to the world that I used to inhabit—international tennis. There are so many parallels. There was a structure of support from home events, tennis associations, teams that were picked, coaching, touring squads, venues, home matches—there are a lot of parallels.

Ms Millgate : Absolutely.

Mr ALEXANDER: And some time ago we worked on—and we're still working on—a concept called 'Australia, the world stage', where we would use the performing arts and sports to generate high-end tourism. At the time, I think it was Zubin Mehta, who's one of the top conductors in symphony music, had called the Australian World Orchestra 'the best symphony orchestra in the world'. They toured India and I was trying to sell the return event, to use that to drive tourism at a high level to Australia. Those opportunities would exist—think of Keith Urban, I guess: a tour down under—to form a circuit where we can expose our tennis players, with a guitar, to international audiences on our home stage and then have some orchestration to be able to then export and play the away game. Possibly one of the most successful tourism campaigns we've done is based on food and wine. And they have the G'Day USA event in Los Angeles in January. I think that's largely a food and wine promotion. But why shouldn't these things be linked as Australia being not just Ayers Rock and coral reefs but a place of very diverse culture, food and wine—of music and other performing arts? It seems that there's a huge opportunity if we expand—

Ms Millgate : Absolutely.

Mr ALEXANDER: and if the correct government vehicle is formed to support it as required. But often when we have inquiries we hear all the problems, and probably you know what the answers are, and we probably need a bit more specific guidance on what we could do to support this. I wasn't particularly focusing on this until you talked about the income that's generated.

Ms Millgate : Yes. I'm thrilled that you've identified that. It's absolutely what we would love. This year for the first time we partnered with G'Day USA at South by Southwest and their creation of Australia House came into play. And as of a week ago we sat down with Tourism Australia because they had identified that here's a vehicle through music that is relatively untapped, and what could we do? These ambassadors are on every stage in key markets across the UK—and youth, who they really want to target. When you've got Stella Donnelly standing up there playing, the first thing she says is, 'I'm from Perth.' These artists, without question, are sharing their stories and saying where they're from. The idea to have people focus on what we've got here—the idea of festival tourism and the inbound strategy that we talk about in the report—is about bringing these key influencers and taste-makers in to experience our culture and our landscape.

I just came back from an event in Perth, Scotland, and it was exactly that. They had us watching Gaelic artists in a distillery and were serving whisky. It was really important infrastructure for them, but it was also about teaming with tourism, teaming with the local cities and showcasing their artists. I think that's something we have got so much potential to do here.

Mr ALEXANDER: To leverage our talent.

Ms Millgate : Absolutely. You then have alumni who have had that great experience. Then, when we do come en masse internationally, there's a real connection to those artists, and they want to be part of it and share that story also. It's great that you can see that.

Mr ALEXANDER: They could literally become cultural ambassadors.

Ms Millgate : Without question. I think they already are. They just need to be supported more.

Mr ALEXANDER: They are, but we're not taking advantage of it—

Ms Millgate : You're not.

Mr ALEXANDER: because there's not the right structure to really leverage and drive this. They are representing Australia, they're representing our culture, they are engaging with people. Imagine if, when the Little River Band were at their peak, Glenn Shorrock had said, 'Come Down Under and watch us and then go on to various country venues.' They would have been driving tourism into regional areas as well as our capital cities. I think they could have generated a huge following.

Ms Millgate : Absolutely.

Ms TEMPLEMAN: With regard to the 'Australian music first' policy, I'm really surprised that your comments suggest that when Australia has events overseas—in embassies, in whatever circumstances it has them—we don't already have a policy that says, 'Let's use Australian artists.' Can you very quickly talk me through what happens and how we could change that.

Ms Millgate : I guess it is having that cognitive understanding. We do have the privilege and pleasure of working with a lot of Australian high commissions, embassies and consulates, and just having that partnership on the ground is fantastic. I think what you hadn't recognised is that it means a lot to the artists when we have them meet the high commissioners. They feel valued. They feel like there's an extra bit of worth to it. Aside from that, at all those events people are looking to put Australian wine and Australian food on the table. We just want that third piece—that it needs Australian music. That could be background music, but playlisted and licensed correctly. And that's something we can help with.

CHAIR: Do you know what's happening at the moment? Do they play Australian music, or is it the last thing people think of?

Ms Millgate : It's the last thing people think of or, when they do have the intent to do it, it's like: will we do this because it's a good thing to do, it's for promotional purposes and there's no fee? I'm pretty sure the caterer is getting paid.

CHAIR: Is that something that you could offer—

Ms Millgate : We could certainly—

CHAIR: because not everyone based overseas is going to be across the new music emerging—

Ms Millgate : That's it, yes.

CHAIR: whereas Sounds Australia could say: 'Here's something. Why don't you play this? This is what we're trying to promote at the moment.'

Ms Millgate : Yes, we could. Saying that, there are still only four of us, so that's where we need the resourcing. But, in terms of providing a suite of tools and accessories for the government to use at every event around the world, 100 per cent we could do that, with the support.

CHAIR: I'm sorry; we've run out of time. Could I thank both of you not just for appearing here today but for what you're doing for Australian music in general. On behalf of this committee, can I say we appreciate it. I can see, just from chatting to you this morning, that you're both doing a good job.

Ms Millgate : Thank you.

Mr Dickie : We are always very conscious of getting bands onstage on time and offstage on time, so we're very—

CHAIR: I've failed, because I'm already behind time.

Mr WATTS: No encores?

Mr Dickie : No encores.

CHAIR: If you've been asked to provide any additional material, would you please provide that to the secretariat. You'll be sent a copy of the transcript of your evidence, to which you can make corrections of grammar and fact. Thank you.

Ms Millgate : No worries. Thanks for having us, and good luck with the rest of the day. You've got some great speakers coming up.

CHAIR: We'll be in touch if we need more info.